Biking enthusiasts got a sneak peek Thursday at how Minneapolis' ambitious bike-sharing program might work if everything falls into place by the time spring rolls around.
The city's goal is to have 1,000 bikes at 75 self-service kiosks located around downtown, Uptown, and the University of Minnesota campus. Members paying about $50 a year would be able to use the 3-speed bikes for up to a half-hour at a time at no charge and drop them off wherever there's a kiosk; non-members could buy a one-day pass for about $5 by sticking a credit card into one of the solar-powered stations.
Memberships would be sold on the Internet, and that's also where users could see, in real time, whether a bike is available at a certain kiosk. It'll be bring-your-own helmet, but the sturdy bikes include generator-powered lights that switch on automatically when the bike is pedaled.
The nonprofit program would cost about $3 million to set up, said Bill Dossett, who works for the City of Lakes Nordic Ski Foundation, which is working with the city to set up the service. Organizers are hoping for a combination of federal, local, corporate and grant money.
One of the goals is to provide mobility for people who take the bus or train into the core of the city and need to get from their transit stop to another destination.